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A MAD LOVE
THE STRANGE blORY
Published by the Author
40 Seventh Ave., New York, 1920
A MAD LOVE
THE STRANGE STORY OF A
A little more and how much it is;
A little less and what worlds ViV72ij.— Browning.
The scene, Vienna; the time, October in the
early eighteen nineties.
I had been studying at the University a couple
of semesters and had fallen in love with the gay
good-humored capital. In the Laudonstrasse I
had two rooms and a bathroom. I put an Oriental
rug or two in my sitting-room and I had to laugh
when the maid-servant, the first time she came
into the room, took off her boots for fear of hurt-
ing the carpet. It was a symbol to me of the
contrasts so characteristic of Vienna between the
primitive simphcity of a peasant folk and the
stately ceremonial of the Court and extravagant
luxuries of the nobihty. The many-colored cos-
mopolitan hf e drew me from my books ; and I'm
afraid I was a poor student.
One day, seduced by the beauty of the after-
noon, I made up my mind to take a long walk.
I went down the Prater to the river. The great
drive spread before me, tempting me on. but I
had started too late; the carriages were all re-
t^ lining to the city at high speed; night w^as draw-
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ing clov/n and there v/as a premonition of rain in
I had walked ])erhaps a quarter of a mile be-
side the river when my attention was dra^^Ti to
a Schutzmann who had gone over to wake a man
on one cf the benches. He stood before the hud-
dled-up figure, speaking to it but getting no an-
svrer. I paused to see what he would do. He
said something more, still no reply. Shrugging
his shoulders he went off unconcernedly with the
easy-going good-nature of the Viennese. A
glance showed me a man with a greyish beard
sleeping heavily. Exchanging a smile of com-
prehension with the Schutzm.ann, I went on my
Vv'ay briskh% hoping still to get a walk before it
An hour later a slight wind had arisen, and the
leaves began to whirl down from the trees and a
slow drizzle began. The gay scene of the after-
noon, with the si;arkling river and the stream of
carriages and well-dressed people, had all van-
ished, and as I walked back the desolation of the
autumn evening grew on me.
As I neared the town I thought of the wastrel
on the bench, and when I got opposite him I was
struck by the fact that he did not seem to have
moved in the meantime: he vvas still huddled up
ki the corner, with his head on his left arm; I
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could just distin,^uish the tuft of his beard.
'MIe'll get wet/' I thought to myseh^ "I had
better wake him."
I went over and spoke to him, grasping his
shoulder. No response; the sleep Vvas too pro-
found. A vague disquieture cam^ over me. I
touched his right hand, which v/as lying on his
knee, and started back; it was cold. Could the
man be dead? I pushed his leg and ii moved
with my hand; he was not dead, but sleeping
the sleep of profound exhaustion.
I shook himx vigorously, and after a moment
or two he turned his head and looked at me.
"Wake up," I said, "you'll catch your death
of cold here."
At first he did not ansvrer. His face struck
me. The eyes looking at me vrere not large, but
young and unfriendly-keen, a light blue that
went vsdth his rufus hair and bronzed coip.piexion.
The beard was reddish-grey and unkempt, but
at the first glance I noticed liis beaked nose and
strong, bony jaws: the face of a man of char-
acter, strong and well-balanced. A small mous-
tache shadowed the mouth; the lips vrere well-
cut, sensitive but not sensual. If this man had
come to grief, I said to myself, it was not through
fleshly lusts. What could be the cause?
He was not badly dressed. His hands were
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clean and cared for. Why did he not speak?
''It is too cold and vret to sleep here," I at-
tacked again, "vrake up; you must feel cold
"What is that to you?" he said slowly, "leave
"I w^as afraid you'd catch cold," I stammered
"And if I want to catch an everlasting cold,
what's that to you?"
I was nonplussed — the man's language, the
extraordinary resolution in the toneless voice —
all staggered me.
"I happened to touch your hand," I said, "and
found it cold, so I was afraid you'd get really ill
sleeping here in the wet."
"Oh, be damned!" he barked, "I was happily
unconscious till j^ou called me back to life. What
possessed you? Couldn't you leave me alone? I
had left all the misery of living behind ; now it's
ail to do over again. Go away!"
"Will you, an educated man," I said, "allow
yourself to die here of cold like a starved dog?
Come, man, have another wrestle with fate."
He did not move, but simply looked at me. "I
don't want another wrestle," he said, in the same
slow, toneless voice, "I am more than half-way
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through. Leave me alone!"
"You are not half-way throiig-h/' I exclaimed,
feigning a laugh, "you'll probably get pneu-
monia and have a dreadful month in the hos-
"I am cold all through already," he said, "I
have not eaten for a week. Death is at my heart."
I was young and have more than a grain of
obstinacy in me ; I could not leave him to die.
"If I wanted to die," I exclaimed, "I would
take the pleasantest way out."
He didn't even answer; his eyes closed as if
I persisted. "I'd go out like an artist, warm
and happy. I'd meet Death rose-crowned like a
His eyes lightened, then his eyebrows went up
and he made a motion with his hand as if to say:
"Have it as you will."
A passing "fiacre" stopped at my lifted hand.
"Come," I said, "I have a few gulden to
"You will have to carry me," he replied. "I'm
His immobility struck me. He had not moved
all the time we had been talking. I put an arm
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round his vraist and tried to lift him. The driver
with the ready servability of the Viennese had
nipped down from his box and now came across
and ^leJped me; with his aid we got the man into
the fiacre and I gave the driver my address.
On the way, my strange companion said noth-
ing; with shut eyes he leant back in the cab.
When we got to my lodgings, the Kutscher
sprang off the box and came to the door.
''Can I help the gentleman?"
''I wish you would," I replied, ''it is onlj' two
In a few minutes we had got the mian into my
bedroom and put him in an easy chair.
"Go to the restaurant at the corner," I said to
the driver, "and get me a bowl of hot soup, will
5^ou, and some hot water? I have brandy here,
"Certainly, sir," he said, and hurried off im-
I got out some warm winter underthings"
and tried to get my friend's coat off, but found
it very difficult. I went and got him a glass of
brandy, but the moment he tried to sv/allow it he-
spluttered it all out.
"I'm sorrj^" he apologized, "it's like liquid
A MAD LOVE
I made it weaker with some water and gave
it to him again and he got it down, but the real
help came when the coachman retm^ned with
some hot soup and bread. I arranged it on a
little table and the first spoonful brought life
back to the half -starved man. Meanv/hile the
coachman busied himself taking off the man's
boots and putting on a pair of thick socks I
handed him, and after the soup had taken effect
we managed to undress him and pack him away
in the bed.
"You are all right now/' said the coachman,
rubbing his hands, "you'll be asleep in five min-
utes. I wish I had such 'tendance."
The hint was not lost on me. When paying
him I gave him a glass of brandy, for which he
thanked me by calHng me ''Herr Baron!" with
the instinctive desire to please of the Viennese.
When he had gone I turned to the bed.
''I am not inclined to sleep," said my friend*
"And you don't even know my name."
*'There is time for all that," I replied.
''It wouldn't convey anything to you," he said,
*'nobody knows me here; but my name is Hage-
dorn — Emanuel Hagedorn."
''A long sleep will do you good," I said, "if
you let yourself go, you will soon be asleep. To-
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morrow is another da^^"
I took his clothes and boots into my little sit-
ting-room and closed the door. The boots I
found were well-made ; the clothes travel-stained,
but good; they only needed brushing and press-
ing. Meanwhile I would have to arrange a bed
for myself in the sitting-room. I went down to
see the landlady and soon got everything in
Suddenly I remembered that I had not eaten,
so I went out and had a meal at the Ried Hof
nearby, where I sometimes went when the
weather was bad. When I came back my bed
was made up on the sofa and a little wood fire
was burning on the hearth.
I listened at the door but heard nothing in the
bedroom save regular quiet breathing. Reas-
sured, I went to sleep. In the morning I was up
early, but I had scarcely moved across the floor
when I heard sounds in the other room. At al-
most the same moment the maid knocked, bring
ing coffee and bread and Hagedorn's clothes; I
called through the door, ''Good morning!" and
went on dressing.
Half an hour later there was a tap at my door
and Hagerdorn came in quietly — self possessed.
As I stood up he nodded to me and we were for
a moment opposite each other. I caught my
A MAD LOVE
breath; he was so calm and completely master of
himself, without a trace of humility; there was
an air of assured strength about him that was
I pointed to the armchair near me and said:
"Won't you sit down? Please throw off cere-
He took the chair at once.
''How do you feel now?" I asked.
"Perfectly well," he said, "without a trace of
cold or even cough ; I never felt better. Fasting
must be good for one. My head is perfectly
clear and I am fairty strong."
"You will be better after a good meal," I re-
sponded. "Where would you like to dine?"
"It is a matter of indifference to me," he said.
"I am in your hands in more senses than one,
though I must warn you again, sooner or later
you will recognize that your help and kindness
have been wasted. You see," he went on, "it was
not a sudden resolve on my part, but a slowly
ripening resolution that still holds, though I rec-
ognize the sense of what you said, that if one
must kill oneself, one should choose the pleas-
antest way. Very practical, you English."
"I am not English," I broke in, "but Celt, and
not very practical, I fear, but I feel that who-
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ever wishes to swim can swim."
He laughed grimly :
*'Women float almost in spite of themselves,'*
he said, ''fat hips and small head; they arc only
pulled down by their clothes — vanity. The ath-
lete or thinker, head and muscles, goes under
unless he swims; fat floats."
"What age are you?" I broke in. The night
before I thought he was fifty; now he looked
"iSTot thirty-four," he replied. "You are aston-
ished. My beard turned grey in the last three
or four months (he had shaved it off, I noticed) .
It is hard to make up your mind to leave life ; it
"I don't want even to hear the story yet," I
said. "I want you to have a couple of days' rest
and get quite well and strong."
"As you will," he replied, "but you are
Two or three days passed, and as if by mutual
consent we kept off the topic that was in both
our minds. I did not go to the University, but
instead took long walks with Hagedorn. It hap-
pened to be beautiful weather, almost like an
American fall w^ith its bright sunshine but softer,
gentler skies, and the Viennese were gay and
A MAD LOVE
laughter-loving as only Viennese can be. Hage-
dorn did not talk much, and yet he impressed me
as a man of real power. We went to the theatre
almost every night. When I proposed the Opera
he shook his head. ''I call it the house of prosti-
tution," he said; "hateful, for it should be a
''Is it the operatic form you dislike?" I ques-
tioned, ''or music?"
"Music is only in its infancy," he remarked
contemptuously, "and opera is a bastard form."
"What do you mean by infancy?" I asked.
He shrugged his shoulders and didn't answer
for a moment, and then began.
"Did it never strike you that other arts, arts
of seeing, like drawing and painting, are univer-
sal; whereas music, the art of hearing, is merely
national, or, if you will, European? As soon as
our artists saw^ Chinese paintings and Chinese
sculpture they recognized their greatness; Chi-
nese pottery,, too, ranks above our own. Even
Japanese color-prints revealed to us new decora-
tive possibilities; painting is an art with an uni-
ver^l appeal. But Music! Let a Chinaman
listen to a Wagner opera or a Beethoven sym-
phony and he just shrugs his shoulders; it's all
to him a medley of unpleasant, or at best, mean-
A MAD LOVE
ingless noises. Go yourself to hear Japanese
music and you will find nothing in it that appeals
to you. Music as yet is in its infancy and I don't
care to listen to the babbling."
This was not the first time the man had sur-
prised me with new^ thoughts. As he sat there,
turned sideways in indifference, his face, I
thought, had the carved outlines and color of a
Venetian bronze. Every hour he interested me
more; he had taste in food and wine, I noticed,
and the manners of a great gentleman; he was
surely ''someone," as the French say.
A few days later we went to an open-air res-
taurant outside the town, and after a good meal
sat talking ; or, rather, I talked about writing and
writers, in doubt whether I should ever do any-
thing worth while.
Suddenly Hagedorn broke out :
''Why put off the day of reckoning? I could
not be better than I am, and you ought to know
how hopeless this rescue work of yours is ? I may
even be able to do you some good, show you how
foolish the whole struggle of life is, especially for
Full of curiosity^ I acquiesced.
"Let us walk back and talk it over," I said.
And back we went to my rooms.
A MAD LOVE
He took a cigar and I lit a cigarette, and we
sat opposite each other for what I felt was going
to be an interesting talk, for in this week or so
of intimacy Hagedorn had made a profound im-
pression on me; his casual remarks were often
original, indeed curiously provocative and stim-
ulating. He was a f ew^ years older than I, but he
had the air of being much older, much more ex-
perienced. He had evidently drunk deep of life;
I had barely sipped the cup ; yet I resented a ht-
tle the sort of authority that sat naturally upon
"I want to tell j^ou the whole story," he began,
"because you'll understand it. I am an artist and
you are training yourself to be an artist in words.
It is we artists who come to the w^orst grief, not
because we are weak, as the Philistines imagine,
but because our burden is intolerably heavy —
heavy, I often think, in proportion to our gifts."
''What do you mean?" I exclaimed. ''The
burden should surely be light, if the gifts are
He shrugged his eyebrows in a way he had of
indicating polite tolerance of my ignorance.
"You will hear," he said.
"There are to my mind tw^o sorts of artists.
The best artists are great men first and artists
A MAD LOVE
afterwards. You may have noticed that I did
not agree when you spoke of Beethoven and
Wagner in the conventional way. These men are
both great because thej^ were great men, not be-
cause they're great musicians. Wagner would
have been, in my opinion, an even greater writer
than musician, if he had given himself to liter-
ature. His early libretti are finer than his music.
''Then you have an artist like Franz Hals, who
is a born painter, or Watteau; his very colors
please you like a child's smile; there is joy and
beauty in the mere tints. Everyone can see that
Watteau is infinitely more gifted as a painter
than Rembrandt; Rembrandt carries it because
he was the greater man."
''How are you so sure he was the greater
man?" I asked. Where do you find the short-
coming in Watteau?"
Hagedorn paused for a moment, then began.
"Do you know his 'Embarquement pour Cy-
there' in the Louvre?'
I nodded, and he went on:
"You have the advantage of me. I have only
seen a print ; but the motive is that couples in love
are going to sail to the Isle of Venus. The first
couples are away up on a hill in the right-hand
comer of the canvas; then to the left of them
A MAD LOVE
other pairs, and finally down by the water's edge
on the lower left side, the boat. But the proces-
sion should have started from the left-hand top
corner and gone down to the right; our eyes,
probably through reading, move more easily
from left to right. Had Watteau thought over
the matter he could not have made such a blun-
der in construction. The brain-work in Rem-
brandt is far higher."
"Of course, of course!" I cried. "A fair
Hagedorn went on. "I often think a great
painter should be able to paint a wonderful pic-
ture by merely putting different colors on a can-
vas without any representment of reality or like-
ness to the actual."
''Then you're a painter," I cried.
"No, no!" he said, "I'm nothing. I was a mu-
sician with an extraordinary gift. Whether I
had any greatness in me, you will be able to
judge better than most; but I came to believe
that I had.
"My father was a Kapellmeister in Salzburg;
pure German, I believe. My mother was a singer
who lost her voice with me, her first child. She
must have been a Jewess, I think, but I never
saw a pair that loved and lived in such unison as
my father and mother. No one could have had
A MAD LOVE
a happier childhood than I. When I was six or
seven they found out I had a wonderful ear, and
they tried to keep me away from music. ]My
father had a dread of precocity and infant prodi-
gies. He always said that JNIozart would have
lived much longer and done much better work if
he had not begun so earh\ He used to condemn
our practice of starting race-horses at two years
of age; he thought if we started them at five or
six we should have better horses. And I dare
say he was right. He had brains, my father,
and my mother agreed with him in everything
and always did what he wished.
"They sent me to school, and school was easy
for me. I Jiad a fluick, retentive memory and
learned without trouble. I tell you all this not
to praise myself, but to make you understand the
tragedy. Then I got to know a shoemaker
who lived near us who had a violin, and I used to
go round and play with him. I don't know^ how
I learnt, but I did. One day my father, -who had
been first violin in the orchestra at the Opera,
took out his violin and played for us, I forget
what. I was about ten. I took the violin from
him and began to play. You should have seen
his surpri:^ and my mother's pride, and my own
gratified conceit. I shall never forget that day!
But Fate hates the favorites of Fortune !
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_ ''After that they set me free. My father was
dehg-hted to teach me instrument after instru-
ment, and I learnt three or four, including the
'cello and the piano."
"Do you know four instruments?" I broke in.
*'I can play any instrument," he said carelessly.
'*Good God!" I exclaimed, ''and you found it
difficult to make a living?"
"Xo, no!" he cried. "I never said that. I've
found it difficult to live, but I never had any dif-
ficulty in making a living. It's our dreams kill
us. It is the heaven we see before us and cannot
realize, or the Paradise we've been driven out of
that makes life disgusting to us and kills us. We
artists die of our dreams as of the plague."
''I do not understand," I said. "Go on,
"Let me come to the point at once," he said.
"I am one of the few persons born with an
ear for music; there are not three in a genera-
tion; I've never met another. You don't know
why or how Bach arranged his 'wohl temperirtes
Clavier/ do you? (I shook my head.) It would
take too long to explain; but the piano is still
imperfect. Take C sharp and D flat. They
both sound the same to you; but C sharp is
twelve vibrations faster than D flat. I can hear
them; anyone can hear the difference on the vio-
A MAD LOVE
lin. The violin can give you the true note ; the
piano doesn't; that's why a great vioHnist is
often out of pitch with an orchestra, and why
the only good music is that of a string-quar-
"But you/' I cried, ''can you hear all that?"
*'I have absolute pitch," he replied. ''You do
not know what that means. It means that be-
tween two notes that succeed each other you hear
only an interval. I know myriads of tones be-
tween them. Our musical notation is all imper-
"Xow, wtiat does this imply? The painter is
able to give you an idea of any living thing at
once in three or four strokes. He can show you
the difference between a woman's figure and a
man's; between a cow and a buffalo; between a
lion and a tiger. He can represent anything he
sees : why can't the musician represent anything
he hears? Why isn't he able to give you the
songs of birds, the sound of the wind in the trees,
the long withdrawn rustle of the tide ebbing on
a beach? Because music is a half-art, and the
sounds in Xature are infinitely too complex for
our silly scales."
''But did not Wagner give us a storm at sea in
'Der Fliegende Hollander?' and what of the
Waldvogel in 'Siegfried?' " I asked.
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Hag-edorn laughed scornfully: "Talk to me
of that storm; it's childish, and the Waldvogell
Why not ask a painter to paint the woodbeast?
He'd ask you, "Which one, squirrel or bear? The
woodbird is just as ridiculous." Wagner had
to use a flute for his bird's note, simply because
there is a sort of surface likeness between a black-
bird's song and a flute, but the violin can give
the tone much better if he had only known it.
Don't let us talk of Wagner as a musician!
"Mascagni tried to give the nightingale in
Parisina; the song went on for forty-five min-
utes and was intolerably bad ; they had to cut out
the bird. I ga^je that opera the name it's kno^vn
by now in Italy, 'Opera a forbici — the opera
with the scissors'. Do you remember 'The Cre-
ation,' b^^ Haydn, and the beasts in it? Isn't that
"But can you render the nightingale's song?"
He bowed his head: "So that any nightingale
near will answer me at once, even in broad dav-
"Good God!" I cried in utter astonishment.
"I can give you the music of the wind in the
trees, too," he went on, "or of the sea in storm
or calm; I can imitate whatever I hear, exactly
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as a draughtsman-artist can reproduce any form
or any scene at will."
"What a gift!" I cried again.
Hagedorn shrugged his shoulders. "That's
the alphabet of my art; but the gift made me
infinitely conceited, and was one cause of my
"My parents got so proud of me that they
humored me in everything. I began to appear at
concerts and to show off. jMy father did all he
could to hold me back; he kept me on at school
till I was about fourteen, but I would not hear
of the University. I did not go through even
the top classes in the gymnasium. Life tempted
me terribly and lessons were intolerable to one
who had tasted the heady wine of applause from
great audiences. Girls sought me out like moths
seek a light, and I was eager to meet them. I
got into life too early, and drank too deep with
that desperate, unquenchable thirst of youth. I
took double mouthf uls, as the French say. . . .
"The onh^ thing except making love and kiss-
ing I would practice was my violin, unless, of
course, I was learning some new instrument;
but that was part of my showing-off. I really
had only to conquer the little technical difficul-
ties peculiar to each instrument, and almost at
once I was master of it. I knew its weaknesses
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and its powers by instinct, and soon got to the
end of them. But a violin — if you get a good
one — has hardly any limitations; its virtues are
yours and its shortcomings yours "
'*I would give anything to hear you play," I
exclaimed. ''We must get a violin. But, I can-
not afford a Stradivarius," I added lugubriously,
''I am quite poor."
I'A Stradivarius is not needed," he replied. "I
can find a violin as good as any Strad. here in
Vienna in a week; the best things have few
"What would such a violin cost?" I asked.
"Oh! anywhere from fifty to two hundred
kronen; it's a matter of chance; I may not find
one in a month."
"I will let 3^ou have the money," I said. "I
want to hear you play so much. But w^eren't
you in request everywhere; weren't you tempted
at every moment by big offers?"
"I was in Paris playing on my own hook," he
replied, "with an apartment on the Grand Boule-
vard before I was seventeen. That same summer
I played at the Albert Hall in London. I do
not need to tell you w^hat my novi de theatre was.
It's better forgotten. Gifts don't matter; it is by
the soul alone we count."
A MAD LO\^E
''But how did you come to grief?" I asked.
'*You had eveiything: health, strength, fine pres-
ence, extraordinary talent; eminence in an art
while still a youth. What brought you to
''Looking back," he said, "it seems to me that
a good many causes combined over several years ;
but I would prefer, if you are content, to let you
find out for yourself. The forces are all there
still; they are operating now as before, but I
think you ought to be convinced first that I am
not bragging or extolling my powers unduly. ^If
you'll buy me a violin, j^ou'll always get your
money back for it, and a few days' practice will
make it easy for me to show you what I can do."
I gave him the money that same day, and for
nearly a week afterwards scarcely saw him, ex-
cept at an occasional meal ; then he appeared with
"Fortune favored me," he said. "I've got an
. Amatis — ^as good an instrument as one could wish
to have; luck has always been with me. Xow if
you are going regularly to your lectures, I will
practice here every morning, and you can make
SJiy arrangements you like for hearing me play,
say, on Tuesday week, and I will try to show you
that you did not help a wastrel."
Having started as a journalist in the States,
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I had formed connections with some newspapers
in Vienna and got to know a good many critics.
Since meeting Hagedorn I had talked to two or
three of my journalist friends about him, and
now I told them of his extraordinary powers and
got them all intensely interested. I issued invi-
tations for the next Tuesday afternoon, and be-
sought all the journalists I knew to bring any
real critics with them. They all told me they
would turn up, and one in particular, the best
writer on a musical weekly, declared he would
have a great surprise for us ; he would bring one
of the greatest artists in the world to hear my
friend. I could not help going in and reading
his cordial, kindly letter to Hagedorn, hoj^ing it
would excite him and nerve him to do his very
best. He listened to me reading the letter and
''I am glad for you, my friend; your probation
won't be long."
*'But you don't see!" I exclaimed. 'Tf this
great musician takes you up, swears you are
extraordinary^ anything, everything may come
He shook his head. 'Tt is not a cancer spot
you can cut out," he said, "or a sore to cure. But
I shall be ready. You'll see. Only do not let
them see me or meet me. Keep them in the other
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I was a little surprised, but I arranged chain
in my sitting-room so as to seat about twenty -five
or thirty people.
When thf great afternoon came I was in-
tensely excited. The room was crowded — forty
people instead of twenty-five, and all on tiptoe of
expectance. Suddenly the musical critic entered,
bringing with him Joachim.
''I don't need to introduce Joachim to you," he
said, ''the greatest violin player in the world."
Of course, I insisted on his taking the seat of
honor, and I could not help sneaking into the
back room to tell Hagedorn that Joachim had
come to hear him. He smiled, but his eyes were
sad, and I returned a little chilled. He had given
me the outline of the program, and it ran some-
thing like this:
1. A young nightingale learning to sing.
2. A nightingale after he has found his love.
3. How he should sing.
4. A Comment on I^ife.
I announced the first three, and we all sat down
to listen in strained attention. After a little
pause the nightingale's notes began to fail like
golden beads. At the first break in the voice —
extraordinarily hfelike — I saw Joachim start,
A MAD LOVE
and from that moment I knew Hagedorn had
conquered. There was a hush when he stopped
playing", and after a moment, quiet applause —
I had almost said reverent applause — silenced
almost immediately by new notes that rang out
in a song of desire and joy.
Words cannot describe such sounds; at least I
have no words to describe them. I can be excused
for not attempting a task beyond Shelley's powd-
ers. But as the music ceased, Joachim jumped
to his feet and silenced the clapping:
''Xo applause," he said, "let us hear the next;
it is most astonishing." j
A moment or two later the next song began — • i
what the nightingale should sing. It went from '
panting desire to throbs of joy, and from joy to
triumph, and then came broken wailing notes
caught up now and then with faint reminders of
the love-ecstasy. Then — abruptly — silence.
Joachim started to his feet again.
''He is not onlj^ a great master of the violin,"
he said, "but a great, great musician. Who is
he? Please let me meet him." i
I stood between him and the door and told him '
that nw friend did not w^nt to be known. The
surprise, the admiration of all was manifest.
Everyone declared that the performance was ^
v/onderful, epoch-making. One after the other
A MAD LOVE
found new words with which to praise the un-
Suddenly Hagedorn began to play again. T
announced ''A Comment on Life!" In absolute
silence everj^one began to listen.
What was he playing? It was all light and
gay and hopeful, like a spring morning, the joy
mounting rapidly to passion and delight; higher
still to rapture, and then — idiot laughter tore the
air! A phantasmagoria began of all sorts of
emotions mixed together — joy and pleasure
broken by dreadful, meaningless chucklings;
moanings and imprecations shrilled to shrieks
and ravings, only to die awaj^ in ghastly mutter-
ings. We looked at each other; plainly the mu-
sician was depicting a mad-house. Exquisite
moments of joy and sighs of pleasure, ending in
howls of rage and ear-piercing screams — appall-
ing! Then a heavy silence!
Xo one applauded. I looked up. Joachim
was shaking his head.
''Dreadful! Dreadfully painful," he said,
''Art must not give itself to pain. What a pit)^
A most remarkable mastery. What a pity!" and
he hurried from the roQm, Xo wish to meet
Hagedorn now. The men vanished as quickly
as they had come. One alone remained, A young
fellow I had scarcely noticed, a critic on a dailj"
A MAD LOVE
paper, since famous, then just beginning to be
''Great work!" he cried to me. ''Let them all
go. I have Kstened to the greatest violinist I
ever expect to hear; greater than Joachim,
greater than anyone; a great original master; I
must meet him!
"Come and dine tonight and I will see if I can
bring him," I said.
"Tell him from me," said the young man, "that
I am on my knees before him. He is a great,
great man — astounding!"
"S^^hen he had gone I hurried into the next
room to see Hagedorn. He had laid his violin on
the bed and was seated in the armchair.
"You heard," I said.
"Everything. Your Joachim was character-
istic: true to type, as I knew he would be. The
imitations pleased him ; my master\^ of the instru-
ment even. He has some greatness in him; but
the moment I showed him a little more than he
was prepared for — revolt, resentment — 'Art was
not made,' if you please, 'to give itself to pain.' "
Instead of a mad-house I ought to have g^iven
them a Jew Jeweller's Heaven w^th golden
streets and pearly gates — a childish ^dsion of a
tawdry Paradise. But, I hope you are satisfied,
A MAD LOVE
"More than satisfied/' I replied. ''Satisfied
that everything you have told me about yourself
and your art is true; that you are the greatest
musician I have ever heard or expect to hear. I
believe you are a ^reat man, too, and I am infin-
itely sorry for you. You heard what young
Neumann said. Do you expect, out of forty
fools, to get more than two to see you as you are?
I think this is the only city in the world in which
you could find two enthusiastic admirers!"
He put his hands on my shoulders.
''You are a great boy," he said, "and if any-
body could help me, you would; but it's too late,
if indeed it were ever possible."
That night young Xeumann came to dinner,
and Hagedorn allowed me to introduce him as
the violinist. Xeumann said everything I have
said here, and said it at far greater length and
better, or at least more enthusiastically. He ad-
mitted with gay laughter that if he had only
heard the mad-house thing he would not have
come back for more, but he declared that it sea-
soned the nightingale's songs and formed the
most perfect contrast to them.
"I want you to play me the thing in all music
I love best," he said to Hagedorn. "It's the song
A MAD LOVE
''Stopl" cried Hagedorn. ''Don't say another
word; don't tell me what it is." And he went
into the inner room and began to play.
"He has guessed right/' said Neumann, as the
strains floated through the room. And for a
wonderful quarter of an hour we listened to the
love duet in the second act of Tristan, marvel-
lously rendered, perfectly, so that expectation
was surpassed, desire sated.
When he came into the room again JNTeumann
took his hands, with tears in his eyes, and said
''I cannot thank you. Words are nothing."
'Xet us go and dine," I said, and we went out
together. But during dinner we were all very
silent. There did not seem much to say, and
when we returned to the house and ISTeumann
left us at the door, I could only say to Hagedorn :
"It has been a great day for me, a great day."
He nodded and went into his bedroom with-
out a word, but I noticed now that his face had
something Sphinx-like in it; it was as if carved
in stone to endurance.
The next morning Neumann called, just as
the coffee came.
"I have been up all night," he said, "utterly
unable to sleep. I could scarcely wait till it was
A MAD LOVE
eio^it o'clock so that I mio^ht come round and say
that I put myself at your service. Whatever I
can do in Vienna I will do. You ought to have
been known ten years a^j'o from one end of the
world to the other. Give me the chance of telling
Vienna who you are and of showing them w^hat
you can do."
Hagedorn smiled. /'It is really kind of you,"
he said. "Talk it over with my friend here and
decide whatever you please."
''We must give a series of concerts," cried
Neumann in wild excitement; ''subscription con-
certs, half a dozen or a dozen, in a large hall, but
not too large. I know the ver\^ place. We will
put the price high and every seat will be filled,
and after the first concert every ticket will be
worth fifty times its weight in gold. I know
Vienna. It is not deaf to genius. I feel sure of
"Xot a dozen concerts," interrupted Hage-
dorn. "Say three, if you like."
''I want a crescendo effect," argued Xeumann.
"Please give me six concerts and write the pro-
grams. I am sure you can do anything you w^ant
to. Pick the musicians you care to honor and
give their little-known pieces. Only play one or
two of your own things in each concert. Match
yourself with the greatest. I tell you, man, it
A MAD LOVE
will be a triumph!"
It was good to hear him. That was what I
felt, too. Surely, surely it was possible to save
such an extraordinary^ genius.
We soon found that our task was going to be
an easy one. Xeumann got the hall and Hage-
dorn gave me the programs for three concerts.
He had headed them: ''Old Masters; Modem
Masters; The Future." Xeumann begged for
more, but he shook his head.
''I want to repav my friend here," he said.
Xeumann declared that with six concerts w^e
would make fifty thousand kronen — a sima far
bej^ond our hopes or wishes — but he begged so
hard that at length Hagedorn consented. I did
not interfere with a word. I had already grown
doubtful of my right to interfere: ''The heart
knoTveth its own bitterness/'
Finally they settled on four concerts. I could
scarcely wait for the first one. At Xeumann's
request Hagedorn had made the programs very
long. He began by playing some well-know^n
things from Bach, and insisted on playing them
on the instrument for which they were intended
— the harpsichord. In his hands the little tin-
kling instrument became a wonder, and for the
first time in my life a fugue of Bach showed itself
A MAD LOVE
as an exquisite thing', a jewel as beautiful as a
sonnet of Wordsworth — divine music, impec-
Then he played Beethoven's Sonata in B flat:
we all had heard it ag-ain and again. I had
never realized it was so wonderful. Then Mozart,
grace and sweetness and joy incarnate.
And then Wagner; the famous passage in the
3Ieistersinger that is, after all, the great egotist's
own trial and supreme triumph.
They were all rendered as I have never heard
them rendered before or since, and the audience
was enthusiastic as only a Viennese audience can
be. For ten minutes the whole program was in-
terrupted while men stood on their chairs and
w^omen clustered together like a flock of doves in
front of the platform applauding, laughing,
chattering, ciying. Really, they seemed to
know how great a man he was.
When the women began to crowd into the
aisle Hagedorn left the stage. He had insisted
upon not even giving his name ; the concert was
given by ''a musician." Only Xeumann and I
were on the stage, and I went out with Hage-
A^Tien the tumult subsided he came in again
and began to play on the violin. First a fugue
almost like Bach's, but better. Tlien he gave us
A MAD LOVE
imitations of all the masters, more beautiful than
the originals. Then a pause, and he began a
lark's song. Just a lark's song some summer
morning on a sun-bathed down or upland. What
a song! The soul of joj^ was in it; it was simply
irresistible. When he had finished and had bowed
and walked off the stage, the audience went mad.
In two minytes they had crowded on to the stage.
They must see him and speak to him. But when
I went out to get him I found he had left the
theatre. I went back and told the people that it
was impossible to find him. The afternoon papers
told us that the price of the remaining seats for
the next three concerts had trebled. Neumann
was more than delighted.
'Let me see him," he cried.
''Go and find him," I said. "You may have
more influence with him than I have. I want
"Encouraged!" exclaimed Neumann. "He
must need a lot of encouragement if such appre-
ciation is not enough for him," and away he
When I got home I found Hagedorn had not
yet returned. He came in about half-past six
quietly, and we went out to dinner. I had never
known him more depressed.
"All this enthusiasm has made no difference to
A MAD LOVE
you?" I asked.
He sliook his head, and his e^^ebrows went up.
"The price of the seats has trebled," I went on.
He shruo'^ed his shoulders.
"But why, why are you so hopeless?" I cried.
"Neumann says he has never seen such enthu-
siasm. The director of the Opera House has
written to him, asking for your name and ad-
dress^ It seems his wife and daughter were in
the audience and are wild with admiration."
Hagedorn shook his head. 'TVe had it all be-
fore," he said, "ten years and more ago. Praise
does not satisfy the heart, ni}" friend. Life to
me is like an obscene monkeys' cage: I could
give you the gibberings and scratchings, the
rages and sensualities; but what good would it
aU do? . . .
"When I was able to take life seriously, able
to hope and enjoy, I failed; the audiences never
wanted the best in me, never; but the imitations
and childish things. I went on, in spite of the
growing conviction that I was born out of dvie
time. Five hundred years hence someone will
come who will do my w^ork, and find perhaps half
a dozen who know him and want him ; today it is
too soon, and I have no wish to encourage or help
men; I'm sick of them and their sordid squalor
and soulless stupidity.
A MAD LOVE
''Life tests all of us to breaking-point," he
went on, after a long silence. "I know now that
the road I trod, is the upward road and has been
travelled by all who grow. The higher we climb
in this world's esteem the heavier our fall. You
remember the text in the Bible^ Those whom He
loveth He chasteneth. It is so true, that; divinely
true. Those whom He loveth He chasteneth,
continually, perpetually, without let-up, to the
very limit of their endurance. To those whom
He hates He gives everything, lavishly and then
the fall is — fatal. 'Twas here in Vienna I met
my Fate: you may as well hear the whole story
now though it's not worth the telling.
''I used to send my mother newspaper clip-
pings of my triumphs, and for one reason or an-
other, she was always calling me back to her, al-
ways wanting me near her. Her mother's heart
was full of apprehension; perfect love is one with
fear. Well, I came back to her more than once
to rest and recruit. But I no longer shared their
religious belief (my mother had long before ac-
cepted my father's Lutheranism, and that made
a coolness. Besides, the hope of the ideal al-
ways tempted me away again, and a year or so
later I would return again to see her and to
When I was about twenty-two or three I stayed
A MAD LOVE
away some years — a foolish, light love affair in
, Paris that ripened me — but again I returned
just before I was twenty-six with two hundred
thousand gulden in the bank. I was rich : I loved
horses and drove them in the Prater where you
found me! drove them tandem, drove four-in-
hand, and generally had a pretty girl beside me
on the box seat.
"When I went to the Opera I used to go be-
hind the scenes and brag to my heart's content-
With that charming humor of the Viennese they
would push me on the stage to play something in
the middle of an Opera. No one could have been
more favored than I: and then without warning
— my Fate.
''One evening I was at a loose end. I did not
know w^hat to do with myself or where to go. I
had just got rid of a girl who was plaguing me
with her love which I had tired of; it was too
H complete, had no limit, no sparkle ; nothing bores
like meek adoration.
I had been dining at a restaurant in the Ring-
strasse when a couple of men came up to me,,
one a journalist named Goldescu, and the other
a musical critic on some paper, I forget his name.
They were wild to take me to see a dancer — ''as
^ great a dancer," Goldescu said, "as you are a
musician. She will be on to-night for half an
A MAD LOVE
*'I had nothing to do and nothing better to
propose, so I went with them. It was a httle
restaurant in the Rumanian quarter — a cellar
in fact, long, low and no doubt dark in the day-
time. We went down a dozen steps to it. A
crowd of common people sat about drinking the
sour Roumanian wine, Dragasan. The first
phrase I heard was ''Datche me vin/' — almost
pure Latin. Roumania was a Roman colony
The proprietor played the Rumanian national
instrument, the Ivobza, a sort of cross between
the guitar and mandolin, and as I got accus-
tomed to the smoke I saw that there was a low
stage at the far end of the room. It might have
been six or eight feet deep and perhaps a foot
high, with a green baize curtain in front of it. No
pretense of footlights except two gas jets in the
corners and one in the middle.
I could not drink the common wine but the
proprietor began to treat us with a good deal
of politeness and soon brought me a Tokai w^hich
was excellent — one of the great wines of the
My friends talked. Goldescu was a clever fel-
low and interested me perhaps because he was of
a different race, and too cynical even to believe
A MAD LOVE
in virtue, much less seek it.
After trying to eat one of their strange salads
I asked when the show was going to begin and
the proprietor told me he would bring Marie on
as soon as he could, but she did not usually ap-
pear till eleven o'clock. There was a comic singer
who bored me to extinction and then the proprie-
tor came out beaming: "She has come and will
I drew my chair clear of the table so as to have
an uninterrupted view down the middle of the
room. The curtains were drawn aside and we
saw a small girlish figure on the stage ; Goldescu
had said something about her being a Jewess ; but
she was not of the Je\^dsh type, I thought. Hei^-
nose was small and straight; true, her eyes were
large and dark and her hair black; but her lips
too, were refined and pretty; and with a certain
sense of color contrast she had thrown yellow^
veils about her. She was just pretty, I conclud-
ed; very pretty even, but nothing more. I had
seen more beautiful women but — there was some-
thing provocative-intense about her, besides a
dainty aloofness and self-possession.
''The music began — a sort of slow, vague
theme, and Marie began to dance; at first very
slowly, gracefully, and as she danced she discard-
ed veil after veil. The music took on character. I
A MAD LOVE
began to see that it was a sort of representation
of love, such a theme as you might witness any-
evening at the Opera, only there was no pirouet-
ting here, or fast little runs and poisings on a toe ;
nothing acrobatic; simply at first lithe swayings,
hesitations and refusals — reserve apparent always
and a sort of fugitive grace; then the yielding ,
little by little, the figure growing clearer and |
clearer as the veils went, till she stood outlined
before us, and reached complete abandonment by
ainking down and backward on the stage with
outstretched arms while the curtains drew to-
gether shutting her off.
"It was charming, graceful, clothed with
beauty and the modest}^ of art. The applause
was tremendous ; they called for the dance again
and again, but no one came. We called too,
and applauded loudly, insistently; at length the
proprietor went behind the scenes but came back
disconsolate. 'Marie refused to do anything more
or to come out. She would bow to the audience
when she was dressed and that was all.
"I don't know how^ it was, but the simplicity of
her methods ^<^rew upon me. She was a real art-
ist; her form more perfect even than her face.
For some reason or other, in my Uebermuth
(I was very arrogant) I thought I would bring
her out, so I went over and took a violin from one
A MAD LOVE
of the musicians. The proprietor divining my
intention, drew the curtains aside and I stepped
on the stage and began to play. I first played
some imitations of birds and then a love impro-
visation giving the spirit of her dancing. I had
never played better. Stll she did not appear. I
put down the instrument and went off with my
friends, content never to see the place again or
the little Roumanian girl.
''The days passed into weeks ; it annoyed me to
realize that I could not forget the dancer or blot
her frqm memory. Often I asked myself: wliat
was the secret of her influence; why did she live
with me when more beautiful women were quick-
ly forgotten? I could never find an answer.
Time and again I was on the point of asking
Goldescu to bring about a meeting and introduce
me; but I disliked the cynical effronteiy of the
fellow and hated even to think of him in connec-
tion with ]Marie's reserved beauty and charm.
''One day I met him walking with a girl. I saw
the grace of her before I recognized who it was,
and from some way off I noticed how people
turned to look at her. When Goldescu intro-
duced us she exclaimed:
"I hope you don't mind my disappearing the
other evening. If you had stopped after your
imitation of the lark I would have come out to
A MAD LOVE
meet you. I wanted to tell you how wonderful
that bird's song* was; but you rendered the very
soul of my dancing with your music and that
broke me all up. I could not come out in that
bouge with red eyes."
''Very human, these artists," cried Goldesew
in a comic voice, and we both had to smile.
''He's an artist," she said, "but I'm only a half-
artist, an executant, my body's my instrument ; it
happens to be a ^ood one, but if it were a poor
one, I could do nothing; whereas he doesn't de-
pend on the instrument at all; his art is in hi«
"Charming of you," I protested, "but unjust to
yoursflf . You rendered love delightfully. 'Twa«
like the Cherubino of Mozart ; a quality of youth
in it, of freshness and a hint of mature passion
as w^ell — an entrancing mixture."
She flushed slightly. "You don't know how
good it is to be praised by j^ou," she said simply,
giving me her eyes. "If I could be deceived
about mvself your praise would do it, but —
"What does the 'but' mean?" I asked. She
pouted. "We women always want perfection;
don't })raise me then. I am curious about you.
You carry one's soul away by your playing, but
who are you, you? You seem too young to have
A MAD LOVE
climbed the hei^sfhts."
''Age is not a matter of jxars," I replied. "I'm
as old as Time.*'
''A great phrase," she cried, deiighiedly, ''and
true; oh, if only — "
''If you two want to make love," Goldescu in-
terrupted, "why select the street?"
She shrank at that ; so I raised my hat and said :
"Please let me know where vou dance next and
"I went; her eyes told me she understood that
I could not bear our feeling to be cheapened by
the Jew's appraisement.
"I've tried to give you a true impression of that
first meeting," said Hagedorn, "but I've failed.
It was all very simple and I've made it sound
high-falutin'. I'm not an artist in words, j^ou
see. But to me she was a revelation, a miracle
of frankness, sympathy, — charm —
"But ten minutes after I left her I could not
help wondering why she went about with that
Jew; what was the attraction, the connection?
Fishy, it seemed to me; for I knew him, knew
that no good thing could live in his atmosphere.
I ought to tell you about him but I can't. I'm
conscious I'm not fair to him; no human being
could be as vile, sordid, soulless, unscrupulous,
A MAD LOVE
cruel and vain as I knew him to be. I've heard
him boast of things an assassin would be ashamed
of. Yet he was big* and handsome in a common
style, a good writer, a good actor, too, and always
carried himself with an assured mastery in life.
He always held the floor wherever he was. I re-
member his saying once he could always borrow
money from the worldly-wise by saying: "Give
me a hundred gulden; I don't promise ever to
pay you back. You should be willing to pay for
my society"; and from greenhorns W insisting
it was a loan to be returned next day. The
funny part of it was, he said, that a second loan
was always easier to get than the first; humans
hated to confess even to themselves that they
had been fooled. And he believed as little in
woman's virtue as in man's generosity.
"Their refusals," he used to say, "are all either
coldness or calculation. Choose the right mo-
ment and —
"And your mother?" some one retorted one
"My race tells 3^ou," he responded,
A common nature and mind sharpened by life.
\^^hen we walked together a dozen girls gave
him the glad eye for one who noticed me. Don't
think I was envious of his gifts or looks; I never
v/as envious in my life. But though he sought me
A MAD LOVE
out I had avoided him always till I found bina
Two or three daj^s after that meeting on the
street he sent me a ''wire" to say he'd call for me
at seven to take me to a new dance. I was ready
and went with him.
''You lucky dog/' he began. ''She's always
talking about you and your playing; it'll be your
own fault if you don't win her, and she's a seduc-
tive little devil. I shouldn't be surprised if it
was her first ""affair." Fancy a professional
dancer a virgin — everything's possible in this
mad world! And she certainly has what the
French call 'the devil in her body.'
I could not discuss her with him. The thought
of seeing her quickened my blood and with beat-
ing heart and glad eyes I went to my fate.
Yet all the preliminaries were hateful to me.
When we reached tho Concert Hall, the perform-
ance had begun, so Goldescu took me round to the
stage-door and went to her dressing-room as if it
had been his own.
"You know the way?'" I asked in sui-prise.
"I should think so," he replied characteristi-
cally. "I've paid to learn it in eveTj theatre »
I could have struck the dog in the face.
A MAD LOVE
At his knock she opened — ''Come in'' — and in
we went though she was not half dressed.
''The days have seemed long," she said turning
at once to me, "I have thought about vou a great
I, too, had thoup^ht about her; in fact I had
hardly thought of ami:hing else.
The stage bell sounded.
\ "I must get ready," she said, "forgive me!
You'll come back?"
"I shall be dehghted! After the show?" I
"After my dance," she corrected, smiling. "I'll
only need ten minutes to get rid of the grease
paint and change: I'll grudge the minutes."
She had voiced my very thought. "So shall
I," I replied like an echo, and we went to our
press seats in the front row.
Marie's dance was announced as "A Joy
Dance," and she appeared all in rose; but the
skirt was short and the stuff was so thin and soft
that it clung and drew attention to the beauties
©f her figure in the most provocative way. My
mouth parched while looking at her: I could
scarcely draw breath and heavy pulses hammered
m my temples. I was filled with a blind rage
of jealousy; all these men seeing her nudity
seemed ah outrage.
A MAD LOVE
"In the beginnintr dress was mere decoration,'*
said Goldescu, ''and not clothing, we are told.
Marioutza is a true primitive, eh?"
I could not trust myself to speak. ''How
could she? Why?"
''I was all interrogation and reyolt; angry be-
yond control. Yet even in my rage I recognisied
that she was dancing marvellously; now like «
lily swaying in water, now floating like thistle-
down, seeming to rebound as lightly as she eamo
to earth, and when the music quickened and db^
sprang from the stage, one really felt that sbe
might go higher indefinitely —
Like an unbodied joy
Whose race has just begun.
It all showed such a union of rare natural gifts
and long assiduous practice as only an arti«t
''She ended her dance by springing into ti^
wings and left us with the image of her willowy,
slight figure outlined as distinctly as a figure on a
We walked about for a few minutes and o»
turning found her at the stage door.
"What did you think of it?" she asked with the
anxiety of the true artist. For the life of me I
could not answer as I wanted to.
A MAD LOVE
''I liked it, of course," I said, ''liked it im-
mensely; but I preferred your love dance."
''Really?" she cried in such chagrined disap-
pointment that I had to mitigate the rebuff. "I
mean, love is a greater theme than joy," I began,
* 'don't you think — "
Goldescu chose this moment to take his leave.
"Don't let him cast you down!" he cried, "I've
never seen you more entrancing: you're a mar-
vel; but alas, I've something special on tonight,"
ke added. We let him go almost without no-
On our way to her rooms the girl enthralled
me. She seemed to divine my secret thoughts
and ni}^ jealousy vanished before her outspoken-
ness. Our talk was confidential and intimate
from the beginning.
"Your playing the other night," she began,
"was magical, but I was overwrought by it and —
and — I wanted to meet you under better condi-
tions: you understand?"
Of course I understood. It was my own
"I want you tp like my Joy Dance," she went
on. "I wrote the music for it myself. Often as
a girl the beauty of our river and woodland in
summer and the song of the birds used to make
A MAD hOYE
me weep for joy. Bucharest is so lovely and I
wanted to render that beaut}' that's one with joy
and delight. I've a pretty figure and I'm glad
of it. We all love beauty; don't we?"
I felt that I had been a brute.
''I know, I understand," I cried, ''but I'm a
man and had alreadj^ put you apart and above
everyone and when j^ou showed j^our figure it
made me jealous; it was petty of me."
''Let me explain it to }^ou," she said with her
childlike sincerity. "You know, we dancers look
on our bodies as you do on your violui, as our in-
strument. You love a fine one and know all its
good points and so do we. How often we used
to laugh at some girl with big shoulders and bust
trying to learn to dance: she couldn't: the in-
strument was not right."
"But do you like exposing yourself?" I asked;
all my innate prejudices coming to rationalize
"I don't think of it in that wa^^" she replied;
"I want to exnress a certain emotion: I try to do
it as perfectly as I can; I never even think
whether I am showing a few inches more or less
of figure. ... Is that immodest of me?
You know, I want you to know me as I am — my
faults even. Others may take the grease paint
for my complexionj I want you to see me as I
A MAD LOVE
really am, heart and soul and all! . . .1
think as a g'irl I was almost without modesty, in
mind as in body. I used to picture and imagine
all things to myself. I vvas dreadfully curious,
longed to know this and that. The mind is im-
moral, isn't it? or rather it has nothing to do v.ith
morality?" And she looked up at me anxiously.
I nodded and she went on:
''jNIy mother used to be shocked at me. She
was a Catholic and religious, and when she found
me studying my figure in the glass (I often
wanted to kiss it), she told me that I must be
modest, and that the body was sinful.
''I couldn't believe it. I don't now. I love the
curve of my neck, and mj^ small breasts are lovely
to me; and even my slender feet please me
I was shaken with delight: she was clear as
crystal with a woman's depth ar?d a woman's de-
light in her beauty. I smiled and she continued :
''Am I immodest? I don't think so. If there
were anything ugly about me, I'd conceal it and
be ashamed of it. I hate my legs because the
muscles show; but I can't help that; it's part of
my art and I'm not modest or immodest about
them: I just recognize the fact — "
"You dear!" I cried, "I've called modesty the
fig-leaf of ugliness."
A MAD LOVE
"That's it, tliat's it," she crowed with delight;
''that's the truth; the talk of the girls in the
dance-classes I call immodest; but —
''I like your strong, stern face," she broke off,
"and the boy's eyes you have and j^our bronzed-
fair skin pleases me. Why shouldn't I say so?
But most of all, your genius, j^our wonderful
playing, the divine spirit in you — "
"You must hear me once at my best," I ex-
claimed. "I'll play for you better than I've ever
played. Let me see. On Friday I play at Prince
Lichtenstein's. Would you come?"
"Goldescu wants me to dance there," she said.
"Suppose we both perform in public, yet just for
"She was ravishing and her eyes held mine ; why
were thev so beautiful to me? Was it the long
dark lashes or the brown brook depths: I can't
say. For the first time in my life I knew love.
I could not help touching her hips as ^ye walked
side by side; I was drunk with desire. I knew
it was love I felt, love once for alL love that was
deathless: this vras my mate, the strength of my
feeling frightened me. I longed to take her in
my arms; but refrained: though the ])assion of
admiration I felt for her and her sacred boldness
was clear enough, I'm sure, for now and again
her eyes gave themselves to mine.
A MAD LOVE
"At her door she held out her hand and though
I wanted her hps I restrained mj^^self . I had had
so much; I did not want to go in. I wanted to
drink the divine cup httle by little and prolong
the ecstasy. But I could not help putting my
hands on her shoulders and looking deep into her
eyes while I said : — auf Wiedersehen! Mein Alles!
''Tin conscious I've remembered badly; given
you no idea of her charm for me.
"I went home as if on air, drunk with the hope
that she loved me, crazy with desire sharpened
by this and that picture of her slight fleeting
''Next morning I awoke to find a letter from
her begging me to send or bring her the music I
had composed for her 'Love Dance' so that as she
said 'even when dancing I may feel inspired by
"I sat down at once and wrote out the music
and took it to her apartment that same afternoon.
It was the first time I had seen her in her frame,
so to speak. The drawing-room w^as very simple;
half a dozen photos of men and girl-friends ; three
or four ])rints of famous dancers, all sent her by
Goldescu she told me, and nothing more except
a piano and th§ usual furniture. At first she
seemed shy; her eyes withdrawn; her hands, I re-
member, w^ere very^ cold, but her face was lovelier
A MAD LOVE
than I had thoug^ht ; she grew on one ; surelr her
eyes were larger than the night before.
''She made me talk about myself and my tours,
of Paris, and London and Madrid; 'people
every^\ here much the same' was her comment. I
had to tell her of my mother and father and my
beginnings and all I hoped to be and do.
''Then a samovar was brought in and we had
tea and afterwards I went to the j)iano and
played my 'liOve Dance' music for her and as I
ended she put her hand on my shoulder and 1
could not help putting my arm around her waist
peeking to draw her to me. At first she yielded
and I thought she was going to kiss me; but then
she fifrew stiff and looked into my eyes ^nd
smiled, shaking her head :
'Touch hands and part with laughter.
Touch lips and part with tears.'
she chanted mischievously, the brown eyes alight.
She pleased me so intimately that even her
caprices were delightful. She wanted to try my
music over before me; she played quite well I
found, and then I had to play it again while she
danced. 'Oh, I shall have a new effect!' she tri-
umphed. You're a dear, dear magician!' she
cried, and for a moment put her glowing cheek
"I don't know why I record all this, but I waat
A MAD LOVE
you to understand the full perfection of mj^ love.
Whatever she did or refused to do pleased me;
her boldness of s])eech and virginal shrinking
from even a kiss delighted me equally.
''That evening at Prince Lichtenstein's was a
triumph. She danced divinely and I really think
my music helped her. I am sure as she sank
backward on the floor while the music throbbed
with passion and sang with delight, no human
figure had ever shown a more complete abandon-
''The audience went crazy; you know our Vien-
nese and how they love to shovv^ their feelings.
Well, I never saw anything like the enthusiasm
displayed that night. I suppose there w^ere five
hundred guests in the great ball-room; the best
names in Austria, and they v/ere all entranced.
They cheered and kissed their hands to her in wild
"She came to me before them all wdth glowing
" 'O Master?' she cried, 'what music! I felt as
if I were in your arms. Do you really love me?
Can you? Are you sure?' "
For a moment I was tongue-tied and thought-
"You know I love you," I heard myself say.
And at once before them all she gave me her
A MAD LOVE
lips, as if we had been alone. I adored her for
her noble courage.
'T.ove to ordinary people is the event of their
lives ; but artists often have a ten-fold keener de-
light. Suppose a sculptor suddenly finds in the
woman he loves the most perfect model he has
ever met ; his passion is extraordinarily sharpened.
Suppose a woman has tried for years and years
to dance better than anyone else and suddenly
finds her powers intensified by a musician who
gives her surprising melodies, her aesthetic ambi-
tions are all realized beyond hope ; if she's inclined
to love the musician you can easily see how her
passion will be heightened. That's how I explain
the bursting forth of ]Marie's love. As for me,
well, from the beginning she had been to me per-
fection perfected. At last I had found the ideal
we all long for, and my very soul was ravished.
''I looked up and the men and women were all
smiling as I thought, malicioush^ or disdainfully
(what were we to them after all but a musician
and a dancing-girl?) I had an inspiration. Tak-
ing her by the hand I led her over to Prince Lich-
tenstein and bowing said: 'Prince, you have
often been kind to me, but never so kind as to-
night ; for in your house I have found my bride.'^
"Everyone applauded and shouted and Lich-
tenstein swore they must celebrate the betrothal of
A MAD LOVE
tbc two greatest artists in the world; and indeed
we did celebrate it all night long for the early
morning sunshine was gilding the house as the
Prince took us to the door and sent us home in
his State carriage with outriders, if you i)lease,
and all his guests cheering on the steps. And
even then he would not let us go till I had
promised to celebrate the marriage in his palace.
''I took my love to her rooms and she would
have me go in with her; so I sent the carriage
home and stayed. And there with shining great
eyes she told me she had loved me from the first
and only wanted to make me happy and as I
kissed her holding her in my arms I was more
than happy, drunk with pride and joy, delirious
'*Xext w^eek my father and mother came to
Vienna and I took a house and began to furnish
it and Prince Lichtenstein sent me some pictures
and others of the nobihty followed suit. The
Gross-Herzog Rudolph, who called himself my
first admirer, gave me the whole drawing-room
furniture — pictures and all — from one of his
''Our marriage was an event but the part I
liked best was that mv mother had taken a great
fancy to Marie and told me at the wedding she
lioped to be a grandmother in a year.
A MAD LOVE
''They say happiness has no histon^ and I
found it true; I could tell you little or nothing
of the next three years except that as I learned
to know my wife's nature I loved her more and
more. Positively she had no faults and a myriad
high qualities, all set off by gaiety and sweet
''After the first season in Vienna I took her for
a tour through Italy and the second year through
Spain. We learned everything together, lan-
guages and all. I found it easy with a fev/ per-
formances each year to increase our fortune ; the
only drawback to our joy was that we had no
children, but neither of us missed anything; at
least I certainly did not, and my wife assured me
she was content. But she was always encourag-
ing me to write an opera or an oratorio to show
how great I was! The Passion of St. ]Matthew
by Bach was her favorite: I ought to do a greater
Oratorio ! I didn't want to face the work ; I was
continually plagued by the idea of making first a
new and scientific musical notation. I wanted to
go to China and Japan and learn their music and
then build up a music which should include theirs
and be as effective in Pekin or Kyoto as in Paris
or Vienna. ]Meanwhile I worked constantly in
my own lazy way and made up my mind to spend
the next summer in Shanghai. ]Marie consented.
A MAD LOVE
**But that season in Vienna for some reason or
other, perhaps to excite nn^ ambition, she took
up her dancing again, and got Goldescu to get
her engagements and play pubhcity manager. I
wrote several new themes for her and she certain-
ly embroidered them superbly.
''I don't think our passion had lost its keen
edge; I found ]Marie a wonderful mistress with
an extraordinary congeniality of taste and de-
sires. It was she who first taught me to love
pictures. If I proposed to go into the Carpath-
ians in mid-winter to hunt bear and wolves, or in
summer to go to the Lido at Venice for a week's
bathing she clapped her hands and crowed joyful
acceptance. Xever was there such a joyous eager
''I often wondered what her own intimate wish
was: had she desires apart from mine?
''I had bought a little country place twenty or
thirty miles from Vienna and I went there fre-
quently, sometimes without her, to put it in order.
''Once or twice I had been annoyed by her lik-
ing for Goldescu; she always told me she had
known him as boy and girl together, and had
never even kissed him; his cynical effrontery, she
insisted, disgusted her; but she had no good rea-
son to give him up ; he was so serviceable ; she used
him for this and for that and I believed her, I
A MAD LOVE
would have believed whatever she chose to tell me.
I was too happy even to work at my art, too
happv to measure how happy I was when the
*'I had gone out to our country-place one Sat-
urday and found the water-tank that supplied the
bath-room had burst and overflowed everywhere.
I wired to Vienna for skilled help and stayed to
set them to work. I wrote my wife I should not
be in Vienna before Wednesday or Thursday
and returned on ^londay afternoon to get fifteen
feet of piping that was urgently needed. I got
the piping and saw that I had half an hour be-
fore I could catch my train. Xaturally I drove
to my home and went upstairs. The drawing-
room door was ajar; hearing low voices I pushed
it half open. On the sofa op])osite was my wife
nestling in the corner and leaning over her half
behind her was Goldescu. As I was about to
speak he leaned forward, lifted up her chin and
kissed her on the mouth. I was petrified ; literally
unconscious that I drew the door to ; suddenly I
found myself at the stair-head, yards away, shiv-
ering with cold. Like a sleep-walker I passed
do^^Ti into the hall, picked up the coil of piping,
went out the front door, found a droshky and
drove to the station — mechanically!
'*I gave the coil of piping to the overseer, who
A MAD LOVE
told me I must have caught a chill and following
his advice I went to bed. He gave me a hot rmn.
I fell asleep and four hours afterwards awoke to
a tempest of rage and hate that altered my whole
''The rest can be told briefly. In the morning .
I wired my lav/yer who was also my father's; I
told him the truth and begged him to tell it to .
my parents. I made over half of all I possessed I
to my wife, asked the lawyer to tell her the truth 1
if she pressed for it and that evening took train
for Venice. Since then I have been a wanderer
over the face of the globe. I buried myself for
two years in China and think I know their music
now and their languagre and the spirit of that
great people as well.
*'I Vv'ent all through Japan time and again and
understand, I think, their music.
''Eut I've never done anything: the truth is
I've never recovered from the shock of that after-
noon. I used to hate her when I thought of it; ^
often feared I should go mad with hate; but now
I'm just cold to it all; it might have happened to]
some one else for all I care ; but with my love I
lost my love of life ; all the uses of living became
state, flat and tedious to me.
"Three months ago I returned to Austria after.|
six years of wandering, and went down tc
A MAD LOVE
Salzburcr. ]My father and mother have both died.
I came to Vienna meaning* to make an end ; what
was there for me to hve for?
''You saved my hfe; for a brief space I've
warmed mj^self with your inexhaustible strength
and vigorous love of living, but it can't go
on. . . .
'' 'Everyone/ saj^s the Russian, 'gets tired of
holding up an empty sack.' You'd get tired in
time, my friend, or if you did not, you must feel
that I am tired already : I have travelled the path
before, knov/ ail the toils and triumphs of it and
therefore it all says nothing to me — nothing ! I
got the best of life too easily, too early^ I can't
struggle; I won't; it's fat that floats," he added
"Did vour wife never v/rite to you or seek to see
you to explain?" I asked in amazement.
"She wrote," he said, "and the lawyer forvvard-
ed it; but I never read the letter; I would not re-
open the wound; the cicatrice was painful
enough; wlw should I let her torture me again?"
"But you can't tell anything from the act," I
insisted; "one might kiss and nothing more."
He shrugged his shoulders, impatiently.
"You haven't followed my story with full
sympathy," he said. ...
"Surely you know without my telling you, that
A MAD LOVE
I went through all the tortures of hell. At first
I wanted to go back and kill the Jew and when
that madness left me the memorj^ of her beauty
and her kisses drove me crazy. She had made me
feel more intenseh^ than any one: her body was
always before me, in its slim beauty; I'd see
it, touch it, get drunk with the odor of it. A
thousand times I said to myself:
''I'll go back; what does it matter to me whom
she kissed so long as she'll kiss me, give me the
illusion of love. My body ached for her, man; a
thousand times my mouth parched and desire
''And my maimed, lost soul cried for her day
and night incessantly. I was lonely always and
missed her as the blind man misses his eyesight.
Time and again I found myself in the
train, once at least I got to Vienna and then went
back. ... I could not face the ruins of
such perfect happiness, such divine bliss. . . .
"Don't think I blamed her! No, I quickly got
over that. She may have kissed him, I said to
myself for any one of a thousand reasons; the
flesh is faithless in woman as in man; she may
even have loved me best, nay, she must have loved
me best, else why did she marry me and not him
whom she had known all her life.
"But the heart does not reason, my friend; it
A MAD LOA'E
aches and contracts in agony, or it triumphs and
grows big and joyful. iSIy heart bled and my
life-blood drained away. Day and night I cried:
'Why? why? Oh my^soul! Marie! why?' The
pain choked me and I lived without living, with-
out joy or hope or interest till gradually years
later, away off there in China I found myself tak-
ng a faint interest in music but my heart was
dead and my interest in life was no longer liv-
ing, vivid, but mere curiosity. . .
"They say that cells in the body can outlive the
body's death for years ; my music cells will outlive
soul and body in me ; but the little corpse-light of
life is not strong enough to do any good; I'm
finished. . .
''Are you answered, my friend?"
"I understand," I said, '*but nevertheless," I per-
sisted, "it's your duty to write a great piece of
really new music, music that shall appeal to every
human ear ; think man of the fame to be won ; im-
mortal reputation as the Bahuhrecher, the Road-
maker to a new Kingdom of the Spirit; you owe
a debt to Humanity; pay it first; your life's not
"How often I've said the same thing to my-
self," he began, slowly: "if you only knew how
much I grew in those happy years. I had divined
nearly everything I learned later in China; the
A MAD LOVE
music of the future is clear to me from the tom-
tom of the savage to — but I can't write, man;
I can't; the love of my art is dead in me; she
killed my very soul.
''All the music I've played here for you is old,
old stuff; it has all been memory music, every
note of it. You surely know that you must be
alive, intensely alive, before you can create any-
thing! It's the life in you that you impart; I'm
dead: the heart is cold in me; the soul a corpse.
I can do nothing worth the doing — "
''Don't say that," I protested; "think how
much nobler your work will be if you do it with-
out joy and without hope; but do it; make a be-
ginning at least that the world will never for-
He shopk his head: "I can't. You will not
understand ; the bad alone survives in me. What
good would it do to picture a mad house or a wild
beast's cage? Your Joachim Vvas right; art is
there to cheer, encourage, console, warn even if
you will; but never to horrify and disgust and
discourage. And I see nothing but beasts, luna-
tics, idiots; the posturing, gibbering apes are
loathsome to me!"
"Thanks for the compliment," I exclaimed,
laughing; "but you don't dislike Xeumann or me,
do you? Well, another concert or tvvo and you'll
A MAD LOVE
find hundreds like us to love and admire you and
our love will inspire you to do the new vrork."
lie shook his head: ''What an optimist you
are ! You see you had the knocks first, the train-
ing first that hardened j^ou; I had the triumphs
first that left me soft and weak."
"At any rate give yourself tir.^c/' I pleaded;
(10 nothing hastily; ..i^it go j.x at half-cock, as
^se Americans say; another [numph or two will
make a diflerence; you know the French proverb,
Vappetii vievt eii via'ic:cr: nf; — the appetite
grows with eating/'
He i^niiled, '') owe you that, at least I won't
do anything till I must," and forced therewith to
be :onteni. I went off to consult with Neumann
wliom I brought back with me to dinner.
The second concert w^as a far greater triumph
than the first ; all the best music-lovers in Vienna
were there and prepared now^ to welcome a great
master. As he stood bowdng on the platform at
the end and the audience cheered and cheered and
the women even came up in crowds to the stage,
I made my way to the side-door that led behind
the stage. As I got there a young woman ad-
''Are you Herr ?: then without v^aiting for
an answer. "I am his wife: take me to him!"
A MAD L@VE
''I would, so gladly/' I exclaimed, ''but is this
the right moment?"
She looked at me with wide frightened hazel
eyes: ''What do you mean? I must see him, ex-
plain. . . . My God, sj3eak man: will you
take me to him?"
She was quivering with excitement; she caught
my arm in her hands as if I were about to evade
her ; she was certainly very pretty ; I tried to i:)er-
suade her for his sake.
"I'll do whatever I can," I said impressively;
"but now and here you won't get a chance of a
quiet talk; he'll probably have left the place as
he did last time before I can catch him; but he
lives with me. I'll get you a good opportunity,
Madam.e, where you can use all your persuasive-
ness. I want you to succeed and save him, I
promise you — "
"Oh now, now/' she interrupted, "please,
please, for God's sake. I've waited so long, all
these wear}^ years, please," and the tears poured
down her cheeks.
"Come," I said, unable to resist, "wt'11 find
him if we can," and hurriedh" I took her through
the passage to the waiting-room, but Hagedorn
had left "left two minutes before," as Xeumann
told me looking intently at my companion.
"Go to my rooms at once, Neumann," I cried,
A MA© L0VE
''and if Ha^edorn is there keep him till we come
or kee]) with him at least till you bring about a
meeting. For the love of God don't lose sight of
him till we all meet. If you don't understand,
please believe I have good reason and don't tell
Hagedorn I was with a lady; just say I must
meet him! see!"
''I understand," replied Xeumann, ''I'm off,
and if he's not in your rooms I'll wait there for
you. What a success, eh?" And the next mo-
ment he was gone.
''Xow," I said, ''^ladame, we can go quietly to
my place: should we drive or walk; it's only ten
''As you please," she replied quietly; so I took
her outside and got into a fiacre w^ith her and
gave my address.
"Shall I explain to you?" she began as soon as
we were alone, "I feel that you know the story,
know it perhaps better than I do. Why did he
leave me? Why didn't he answer my letters? It
wasn't because of one kiss?"
"I fear it was," was my answer; "I'm not de-
fending him or accusing you; but that's what he
says. He must have always been an idealist!
"That's why I loved him," she cried, "but good
God! how unjust, how cruel of him! I can hard-
ly explain how it happened; perhaps j^ou w^on't
A MAD LOVE
understand. We women do so much out of pit}';
for pity's sake.
'M had told Goldescu that his cynical way of
talking disgusted and pained me ; it did him harm
too; he was growing coarser, v.orse. aixd I was so
happy. I told him he must stop it or I'd have to
cease seeing him.
"He didn't speak for a little while and I
tliought I had been hard on him.
"Then he began in a strange passionate voice:
" 'You blame me for being cynical; it's too
mucii. I'm cynical because I was a fool, lost my
chance, i^re you stone-blind? I might have won
yoii^ V. as near it years ago and waited thinking
you Vv ould come to me, waited too long and he
v^^on you in an hour, that musiker! And now you
blame me for being cvnical — vou! the cause of it!
I was thunderstruck, shaken.
" 'I'm sorry,' I muttered. We v/omen are al-
vrays sorry for giving love-pain! '
" 'Don't be sorrj^' he cried, 'I couldn't stand
tliat. I never meant to tell you; don't be sorry;
I'm the only one should grieve, but say you for-
give me.' "
"Of course I forgive you," I cried.
" 'I'll try to be better. We'll never talk of it
again,' he said. 'One kiss of forgiveness,' and
A MAD LOVE
before I thoiigiit he lifted my face and kissed
me — a long kiss.
''As soon as I felt how he was kissing me I
])ulled away and started up hot with rage.
"A poor comedy, I cried, ''but even you can
only play it once with me," and I went to the
door ; it was open.
"Vaguely I v/ondered why; after Goldescu had
gone I wondered but then forgot all about it till
I got that awful letter from the lawyer.
"I couldn't believe that; it seemed all too
monstrous to me; it does now! Like a horrible
nightmare turning sweet sleep to horror.
"A thousand times I cried: 'Why should he
leave me? Goldescu kissed me without my will;
I was as if hypnotized; the next moment I
stopped him; I've never seen him since; wouldn't
see him ; I loved no one but my husband, no one,
ever! Oh! oh!" And again the tears drowned
her face and voice.
I pitied her so that I could not help trying to
"Don't fear, please; it will all come right, it
must" — the usual inanities.
When we got upstairs ISTeumann met us:
"He's not been home yet, but he's sure to come
before dinner. You'll not forget you're both
dining with me; this lady too, if she'll come.'^
A MAD LOVE
'*Wc may be late," I said, ''but we'll come if
Neumann took the hint and left.
As soon as we were alone Madame Hagedom
began to fidget. ''I feel misfortune in the air," she
repeated. . . . ''You know I feel sure if I
can talk to him, I can convince him that my love
never changed. And then I'll love him so, he'll
have to love me again. Don't you think so?"
Then she began again graming and grieving:
*'I've been so unhappy, and now so fearful; are
you sure he's not been here; is this where he
sleeps?" And she pointed to my sofa-bed.
*'No, no," I replied, "he occupies the bedroom
in there," and I motioned to the door.
"Let's go in and see if he's been in," she cried.
I wentjirst and opened the door; the bed, the
chairs, iiis clothes — all in the usual order. "You
see," I said, turning to her, "he's not been here";
but even as I spoke she pointed to the head of the
bed and there on the pillow was a sheet of paper
"I took it and read :
A MAD LOVE
^'I knew she was in the hall; I felt her prcsenee;
I sai& her speaking to you; I fled.
''Ifs no use, man, I will not renew the intol-
erable anguish: I dare not, I prefer to — Good-
hye. You did all that could he done. . . .
I forgive, hut there is only one way to forget-